Someone once said, “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a lift pass,” and that person may as well have been Gary Fields (Vice President, Property Operations) or Eric Ryan (Property Manager). We sat down with both members of Regency’s Walnut Creek office to chat about their mutual love for winter sports — snowboarding and skiing, respectively — and how they continue to successfully incorporate these hobbies into their lives.
“I’m from the Midwest and didn’t grow up skiing or snowboarding,” said Fields. “But some buddies I play basketball with out here in California got into it, and they’re pretty competitive, so they inspired me to pick up a snowboard about five years ago. I’ve been hooked ever since.”
Photo: Gary Fields
Gary says he tries to go at least 12 times a year — including sometimes with his sons — and while Tahoe’s Heavenly is his “home mountain,” he loves traveling to ride in Colorado when he can.
It's just fun. There's nothing like that feeling when you get up on the mountain for that first run — whether you're bombing, or going 100 miles an hour,” he said. “All your cares just fade away, and you feel as free as you possibly can. There’s nothing better than a ‘bluebird day’ where it snows all throughout the night before, and you wake up to a bright, sunny day.
Photo: Gary Fields
For Eric, who was born and raised in Northern California, skiing has been a part of his life since he was a kid. His family has a cabin in the Bear Valley area, where he considers his ‘home mountain’ to be.
“Don’t tell my parents, but I was a ski bum for all four years of college — and probably logged 30 days a year, minimum,” Ryan laughed. “During my time as a student at the University of Nevada - Reno, I practically lived on the mountain. I had a big crew of buddies, and four to six of us would always go out there and rip. I stacked most of my classes in the middle of the week so I could ski during the rest of the time. It was incredible.”
Video: Eric Ryan
Both Gary and Eric consider themselves to be advanced riders and have fortunately avoided any serious injuries. When it comes to tips for beginners, their sentiments were aligned: have patience with yourself; commit to going not just once, but several weekends in a row to get the hang of it; pull the trigger and buy a season pass to get your money’s worth.
Ask for a PTO day every once in a while, on a Friday, and just get out there” said Ryan. “Regency does such a good job at encouraging work/life balance, and it’s so nice working in an environment where ‘work hard, play hard’ is prioritized. I’ve managed to go skiing the past four weekends in a row.
“I love my job, I love what we do, I love Regency,” he said. “But if you ask me, a day on the mountain provides energy to have better days in the office.”